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The President told David Letterman's future replacement: 'You've been taking a lot of shots at my job, I decided I'm going to go ahead and take a shot at yours.'

US shutdown: Pound surges to year high against dollar

Greenback took a hit after Congress and White House failed to reach deal to keep funding administration after current budget year ends

The entry to the Jefferson Memorial is closed off in Washington

US shutdown: President Obama vows not to give in to 'ideological crusade' as budget impasse forces 800,000 people off work

Republicans and Democrats have failed to agree the budget for federal agencies, forcing non-essential workers on unpaid leave

Q&A: What is the US shutdown?

What is the shutdown?

We are fighting al-Qa’ida, Syrian foreign minister Walid al-Moallem tells UN

The Syrian Foreign Minister has told the UN General Assembly that his government is fighting a war against militants linked to al-Qa’ida who eat human hearts and dismember people while they are still alive, then send their limbs to the family.

Shutdown looms for US government as Republicans seek to derail Obama's healthcare bill by stripping funding

If Congress cannot agree on a spending bill by Tuesday the government will run out of money for non-essential services

President Hollande was 'hours' from launching fighter jets headed for Syria when Barack Obama called off strikes

French were 'hours' from military strikes on Syria before phone call from Obama

Fighter jets were preparing for scheduled take off when President Hollande took 'stunning' call from US telling him to hold fire

One of the anti-US placards greeting Rouhanin Tehran yesterday

Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, returns from Barack Obama talk to jeers – and cheers – in Tehran

The Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, was greeted by angry scenes on his return to Tehran from New York yesterday, with his convoy pelted with eggs, shoes and stones amid chants of "Death to America" and "Death to Israel".

President Rouhani attacked by protesters in Iran following historic call with US President Barack Obama

Hardline protesters threw shoes and eggs at Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and chanted "death to America", following the first conversation between American and Iranian presidents in more than three decades during a 15 minute phone call yesterday evening.

The President was speaking at a community college just outside Washington

Republican debt-default threat is crazy, says President Obama

Barack Obama has denounced Republican moves to potentially use the threat of a disastrous debt default by the American government to delay funding for his signature health reforms as “crazy”, saying he would “not negotiate on anything when it comes to the full faith and credit of the United States of America”.

To cap it all: Samuel L Jackson

Samuel L Jackson disillusioned with President Obama: 'Be a leader, stop trying to relate'

In an expletive-filled rant, the actor said Mr Obama needs to be more 'f***ing presidential' and stop dropping his 'G's

Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, addresses the UN General Assembly in New York

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attacks 'violent' sanctions, but confirms he is ready for talks with West in UN address

The newly elected president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, confirmed Iran’s readiness to engage immediately in “time-bound and results-oriented” talks with western powers to resolve the stand-off over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions under certain conditions while also excoriating them for imposing “violent” sanctions on his country.

A Syrian couple mourn in front of dead bodies

Syrian immorality tales: Two men in the conflict who didn’t deserve their fate

The cruelty of Omar’s treatment is exactly the reason why the whole crisis began in Syria

President Barack Obama addresses the 68th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York

Iran's president Hassan Rouhani dashes hopes of historic meeting with Barack Obama

US President also tells United Nations General Assembly he has approved discussions with Iran over nuclear weapons

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

Barack Obama expected to engage with Iran's President Hasan Rouhani in UN nuclear talks

Leaders of US and Iran haven't had face-to-face contact in more than 30 years

Samantha Power is the new US ambassador to the UN

UN General Assembly: Will US and Iran join hands for the first time since Jimmy Carter and the Shah?

Obama expected to be first US leader since 1978 to acknowledge an official from Tehran

Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
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Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
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Kellie Bright as Linda Carter and Danny Dyer as Mick Carter

EastEnders Christmas specials are known for their shouty, over-the-top soap drama but tonight the show has done itself proud thanks to Danny Dyer.

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Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
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Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
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The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there